Ministry ‘poached’ teachers

Private primary school owners yesterday accused the government of poaching their teachers in what was described as «an attempt to undermine private schools.» According to Athanassios Zachopoulos, chairman of the Association of Founders of Greek Private Schools, about 1,000 primary school teachers left their posts in private schools this month in response to a call by the Education Ministry for more state primary school teachers. In one case, Zachopoulos said, a school lost 14 teachers. He said the problem was exacerbated by the fact that the ministry expected its new teachers to turn up for work immediately after their appointments were announced, thus giving school owners no chance to find replacements. The association issued a statement charging that the government «is trying to undermine and destroy private education,» and asked the ministry to let them recruit retired teachers. Some 40,000 children attend Greece’s 350 private primary schools. Last year, a total of 2,907 teachers were employed.